Belfast Harbour investing £15m in Victoria Terminal 2
Belfast Harbour has announced a £15m plan to redevelop the port's Victoria Terminal 2 (VT2), which services cross-water traffic between the city and Liverpool.
The terminal is being upgraded to handle the next generation of modern RoRo (roll-on, roll-off) ferry vessels. The terminal currently handles more than 200,000 freight units annually between Belfast and Liverpool.
Co Down firm Graham has been awarded the contract, which is expected to sustain around 100 jobs in the construction phase through to the installation of new ramp infrastructure.
That infrastructure will accommodate the berthing of Stena Line's new E-Flexer ships.
The vessels, set to arrive from China in 2020, have an increased freight capacity of 40%.
Belfast Harbour said that the £15m plan represented the latest instalment of its long-term investment strategy in port infrastructure.
It follows a £1.5m investment that increased VT2's land-side capacity, improving its entrance and accessibility in preparation for the arrival of the new vessels early next year.
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Belfast Harbour port director Michael Robinson said: "The upgrade of the VT2 ferry terminal represents another significant investment by Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland's transport infrastructure and will provide best-in-class facilities for Northern Ireland's importers and exporters.
"The project includes the design and construction of a two-tier ramp that will make it faster to load and discharge traffic, improve customers' experience and enhance connectivity to one of Northern Ireland's key markets.
"By supporting the introduction of larger vessels, the investment also future-proofs Belfast Harbour's ferry facilities and strengthens our long-term partnership with Stena Line."
The work is expected to start next month and finish early next year.
Stephen Hand, pre-construction director at Graham, said: "This major project will include new berthing infrastructure and the installation of a new double deck linkspan that will allow vehicles to drive simultaneously onto the ferry. The berthing facilities at VT2 need to be upgraded to accommodate bigger vessels.
"This project will create new berthing infrastructure and enable efficient vehicle access to ships."